Stansted Airport staff set to strike over pay

STAFF at Stansted Airport could stage a walk out after the Unite union announced that it will be holding a strike ballot at the end of next week.

In a dispute over pay, staff will be consulted on whether or not to take action after airport owner BAA offered a one per cent increase this year. Pay had already been frozen during 2009.

However as part of the offer staff would receive an extra half a per cent if they agreed to changes in a sickness agreement.

The union will ballot 6185 workers including security staff, engineers, firefighters and support staff across all its airports including Stansted and Heathrow.

Unite’s national officer for civil aviation Brendan Gold said that although talks had been going on for months staff were not willing to accept “such a paltry offer”.

He added: “A negotiated agreement can be reached if the company is prepared to be fairer and more realistic.

“We will go into this ballot with strong resolve and a determination to demonstrate to BAA that its staff deserve better treatment than they are currently getting.

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“The union understands the difficulties the airline industry is facing but BAA must realise that these airport workers are struggling to make ends meet.”

In a statement a BAA spokesman said the company was “disappointed” at the action

He added: “During recent discussions we proposed a conditional 1.5 per cent increase. We believe this to be a reasonable offer at a time when BAA and its airline customers are seeing a decline in passengers due to the impacts of recession and volcanic ash.

“We regret Unite’s decision, which will cause unnecessary concern for millions of our passengers and damage Britain’s reputation around the world.”

The strike ballot will open on Friday July 23 and will close on August 12.

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